The school where I teach (City Academy) is featured in this article. The photos are from my school – Tom is in one of them.
Grants foster technology use in Utah classroomsQwest Foundation » Money is
intended to spur innovative teaching.
By Steven Oberbeck
The Salt Lake Tribune
Lara Dean of Lincoln Elementary in Salt Lake City soon will be using a "Smart Board" to help her teach second- through sixth-grade students who are having trouble learning mathematics.
Language arts instructor Colin Haakeson at East High School has secured a digital camera that students learning English are using to create documentary films about ways to improve the school.
Within the next several weeks, Sheila Cody’s and Gareth Orr’s students at City Academy Charter School will be operating a WeatherBug tracking station so they can monitor weather, and feed their data to other schools and a television station.
Similarly, Brenda Hurlburt of Bryant Middle School will be using a classroom set of graphing calculators and temperature probes to aid in the teaching of algebra.
All have one thing in common: They have received Teacher & Technology grants from the Qwest Foundation to help them secure equipment to improve their students’ learning experiences.
"We have about 800 ELL students, (or English Language Learners), at East High," said Haakeson. "The digital camera (allows) those who are participating to go out among their fellow students and practice English by conducting interviews and listening to the answers."
The Smart Board, or computerized white board, at Lincoln will provide a way to collectively engage students in learning mathematical concepts, Dean said.
"It is a way to incorporate technology into the classroom. There are graphics available to enhance the lessons, and everyone can see what you’re doing. The kids think it is a magical board, and when I’ve seen [Smart Boards] in use, the students couldn’t wait to take their turn."
Cody said the WeatherBug station on the roof of City Academy Charter School will allow students to conceive, design and perform their own experiments. She is hopeful the generated data — temperature, humidity, wind speed — will help make student projects "better and deeper."
In her grant application, Hurlburt pointed out that 75 percent of Bryant Middle School’s students come from families with low incomes and 65 percent are minorities.
"Many of our students are unfamiliar with this type of equipment (graphing calculators) and are intimidated by it," she wrote, adding that having it available in a safe and friendly environment will help students address that gap.
The Qwest Foundation’s Teacher & Technology Grant Program was launched three years ago, said Jerry Fenn, Qwest Communication’s Utah president. And its goal is to help teachers use technology in innovative ways.
He said the program has enhanced the foundation’s mission of awarding grants aimed at generating high-impact and measurable results through community-based programs.
In each of the past three years, the foundation has awarded $50,000 in Teacher & Technology grants throughout Utah ranging from $400 to $2,500.
"We try to make sure we’re getting a good cross section of the state," Fenn said. "There are a lot of who have come up with some very creative ways to use technology to help their students."
Photos from the SL Tribune Photo Gallery:
Jim Urquhart/The Salt Lake Tribune City Academy science teacher Shelia Cody checks the WeatherBug readings on Friday. The new WeatherBug weather monitoring system was partly paid for by a grant from the Qwest Foundation.
Jim Urquhart/The Salt Lake Tribune Building manager Tom King looks at the new WeatherBug monitoring equipment on Friday at City Academy in Salt Lake City. The weather monitoring equipment was partly paid for by a grant from Qwest.
im Urquhart/The Salt Lake Tribune The new WeatherBug equipment keeps tabs on the weather from the roof of City Academy in Salt Lake City. The weather monitoring equipment was partly paid for by a grant from Qwest.